Zionists and World War II

This is a following on from the discussion that started on another thread http://irishantiwar.org/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0001HS&topic_id=1

Regarding collaboration bewtween Nazis and Zionists the case of Hungary is particularly disturbing.
These are extracts from Zionism in the Age of Dictators, by Lenni Brenner


(Brenner is an American Jewish person, marxist, civil rights and anti-war activist see bio here http://lennibrenner.eccmei.net/ )

<From the beginning Eichmann, who had responsibility for the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, was concerned that Jewish resistance or attempts at escape over the border to Romania, which by then was unwilling to hand over Jews to the Nazis, would trigger off political shock waves that could slow down his operation.
..In 1953 the Ben-Gurion government prosecuted an elderly pamphleteer, Malchiel Gruenwald, for having libelled Rezso Kasztner as a collaborator for his dealings with Eichmann in 1944. The trial had considerable international coverage throughout 1954. Eichmann must have followed it in the press, for he described his relationship with Kasztner at length in taped interviews he gave to a Dutch Nazi journalist, Willem Sassen, in 1955, parts of which were later published in two articles in Life magazine after his capture in 1960. Gruenwald had denounced Kasztner for having kept silent about the German lies that the Hungarian Jews were only being resettled at Kenyermezo. In return, he was allowed to organise the special convoy, which ultimately became a train to Switzerland, and place his family and friends on it. Further, Gruenwald claimed, Kasztner later protected SS Colonel Becher from being hung as a war criminal by claiming that he had done everything possible to save Jewish lives. Eichmann described Kasztner as follows:

This Dr Kastner [many sources Anglicise Kasztner's name] was a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation – and even keep order in the collection camps - if I would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine. It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price of 15,000 or 20,000 Jews – in the end there may have been more - was not too high for me. Except perhaps for the first few sessions, Kastner never came to me fearful of the Gestapo strong man. We negotiated entirely as equals. People forget that. We were political opponents trying to arrive at a settlement, and we trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoked cigarettes as though he were in a coffeehouse. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigarette after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a little silver lighter. With his great polish and reserve he would have made an ideal Gestapo officer himself.


As a matter of fact, there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the SS and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders who were fighting what might be their last battle. As I told Kastner: "We, too, are idealists and we, too, had to sacrifice our own blood before we came to power."

I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society. But he was incredibly persistent in trying to save biologically valuable Jewish blood - that is, human material that was capable of reproduction and hard work. "You can have the others" he would say, "but let me have this group here." And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his groups escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews.

[end of quote from Eichmann]

.....Kasztner was also involved in the affair of Hannah Szenes which was described at the trial. Szenes was a brave young Zionist from Hungary, whom the British finally allowed, together with 31 others, to parachute into occupied Europe to organise Jewish rescue and resistance. She landed in Yugoslavia on 18 March, one day before the German invasion of Hungary; she smuggled herself back into Hungary in June and was promptly caught by Horthy's police. Peretz Goldstein and Joel Nussbecher-Palgi followed her in and they contacted Kasztner, who conned them both into giving themselves up to the Germans and Hungarians for the sake of the train. Both were sent to Auschwitz, although Nussbecher-Palgi managed to saw through some bars on his train and escape. [24] Szenes was shot by a Hungarian firing squad. Kasztner's admission in court that he had failed to notify the Swiss, who represented Britain's interests in Budapest, of the Hungarians' capture of a British officer and spy - "I think I had my reasons" - outraged the Israeli public, many of whom had read her poetry and knew of her bravery in the Hungarian prisons

On 21 June 1955 Judge Halevi found there had been no libel of Kasztner, apart from the fact that he had not been motivated by considerations of monetary gain. His collaboration had crucially aided the Nazis in murdering 450,000 Jews and, after the war, he further compounded his offence by going to the defence of Becher.>

The Labour government appealed, but lost. Kasztner was shot by someone. This was the appeal decision).

<On 17 January 1958 the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Kasztner-Gruenwald case.

The court ruled, 5 to 0, that Kasztner had perjured himself on behalf of Colonel Becher. It then concluded, 3 to 2, that what he did, during the war, could not be legitimately considered collaboration.The most forceful argument of the majority was put forward by Judge Shlomo Chesin:

He didn't warn Hungarian Jewry of the danger facing it because he didn't think it would be useful, and because he thought that any deeds resulting from information given them would damage more than help ...Kastner spoke in detail of the situation, saying, "The Hungarian Jew was a branch which long ago dried up on the tree." This vivid description coincides with the testimony of another witness about Hungarian Jews. "This was a big Jewish community in Hungary, without any ideological Jewish backbone."...The question is not whether a man is allowed to kill many in order to save a few, or vice-versa. The question is altogether in another sphere and should be defined as follows: a man is aware that a whole community is awaiting its doom. He is allowed to make efforts to save a few, although part of his efforts involve concealment of truth from the many; or should he disclose the truth to many though it is his best opinion that this way everybody will perish. I think the answer is clear. What good will the blood of the few bring if everyone is to perish?

Much of the Israeli public refused to accept the new verdict. Had Kasztner lived, the Labour government would have been in difficulty. Not only had he perjured himself for Becher, but, between the trial and the Supreme Court decision, Tamir had uncovered further evidence that Kasztner had also intervened in the case of SS Colonel Hermann Krumey. He had sent him, while he was awaiting trial at Nuremberg, an affidavit declaring: "Krumey performed his duties in a laudable spirit of good will, at a time when the life and death of many depended on him."

Created By: Orla Ni Chomhrai